The IPocalypse has stuck Europe. RIPE NCC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia announced on 09-14-12 that it is down to its last “/8″ worth of IPv4 addresses. ArsTechnica reports it is no longer possible to get new IPv4 addresses in Europe, the former USSR, or the Middle East, with one small exception: every network operator that is a “RIPE member” or “local Internet registry” (LIR) can get one last block of 1024 IPv4 addresses. To fulfill these requests, the RIPE NCC is keeping that last /8, which has 16.8 million addresses, in reserve.
None of this comes as a surprise, according to the author, given that global IPv4 IPocalypse struck when the global pool of free IPv4 addresses dried up in February 2011. APNIC, which distributes IP addresses in the Asia-Pacific region, ran out of IPv4 addresses in May 2011. The remaining three Regional Internet Registries are AfriNIC (Africa), LACNIC (Latin America and the Caribbean), and ARIN (North America), which all have enough IPv4 addresses to last at least two more years.
Since the depletion of IPv4 address space in the APNIC region, little information has surfaced about how network operators in the region have managed the situation. The article states, the lack of IPv4 addresses only impacts organizations and consumers who need more addresses, or who need addresses for the first time. Existing IPv4 users remain unaffected by the global IPocalypse, and so the immediate impact is limited. Also, large network operators get large address blocks from the RIRs and they typically have a pool of unused addresses of their own, so few will be experiencing immediate problems.
Every year for the past five years, some 200 million new IPv4 addresses have been put into use. Ars cautions, without a steady supply of fresh addresses, many Internet-related activities are going to become problematic in the years to come. Fortunately, 20 years ago the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) foresaw the IPv4 IPocalypse, where the 3.7 billion 32-bit IPv4 addresses would run out, would become a problem, and started working on a replacement: IPv6. However, the IPv4 depletion didn’t happen as fast as the IETF originally predicted, and IPv6 adoption has languished.
So IPv6 adoption got a big kick in the implementation from World IPv6 Launch. Eventually, IPv6 will replace IPv4, but the transition won’t be pretty. I have covered some of the IPv6 issues here, here and here. Give it some time, Europe and the rest of us will survive the IPv4 IPocalypse.
- The Internet IPv4 address business (zdnet.com)